Printing Gaffe Nixes Test Results
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—Due to a printing error that slipped past both the printer and the customer, the reading test results for U.S. students on an international examination had to be discarded, according to the Washington Post.
The Program for International Student Assessment test, which has been administered every three years since 2000, provides an international basis for comparison of 15-year-olds in reading, math and science. But the results from the 2006 reading portion had to be scrapped by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the contractor—RTI International—shouldered the blame.
According to the Post, several questions on the test directed students to a story or passage on the opposite page, which presumes the test begins on the inside front cover. During printing, the color on the cover bled through the first sheet, so the printer left it blank and started the test on the first righthand page.
Thus, during the test, students would be asked to read an essay or passage on the “opposite page,” when it actually was found on the previous page. The blunder slipped past both RTI and NCES, the latter of which reviewed a soft proof. NCES, which received a hard copy in the fall of 2006, did not discover the error until this past summer.
RTI International apologized for the mistake in its $4 million project and has given the NCES a $500,000 credit through reduced fees and doing additional work to determine the depth of the gaffe, the paper said.